ICYMI: Out-of-This-World Gymnast Simone Biles Has Roots in Belize

Lead Photo: Simone Biles smiles after being announced as the overall winner of the 2021 GK U.S. Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
Simone Biles smiles after being announced as the overall winner of the 2021 GK U.S. Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
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Simone Biles continues to break records. On Sunday, June 6, the Olympic Gold Medal winner won her seventh Women’s All-around Gymnastics title. While the win tied her for the most wins at an American event, the U.S. wouldn’t be the only country to celebrate the young world class athlete—so would Belize.

Simone Biles holds dual citizenship in both the United States and Belize. Fans who follow her know this is a big reason the county is a constant on her social media feeds. “I love you more than I love Belize and that’s a lot.” Simone captioned a pic she posted of her and boyfriend Jonathan Owens, a defensive end with the Houston Texans.

Biles’s biological mother, Nellie Cayetano, grew up in Belize before moving to the U.S. in 1973. She would meet and later marry Ron Biles in 1977 and, 20 years later, Simone would be the third of four kids born out of that marriage. Simone’s biological father left the family and her biological mother struggled with drugs and was in and out of jail. At the age of 3 Simone and her siblings would enter into foster care. That is until Simone’s maternal grandfather Ron Biles and his wife Nellie (not Simone’s maternal grandmother) found out.

Simone and her youngest sister would be adopted by her grandparents. Despite all of her athletic accomplishments, the year 2000 is – by Simone’s own admission- her most memorable year. “I remember them saying, ‘ok you know how you called us grandpa, grandma? You can call us mom and dad now, if you want to.” she said on Dancing With the Stars in 2017 while competing for the mirrored trophy. “I can do that, sure. Mom and dad, she continued.

Biles retains her dual citizenship and has a family who continue to support her every tumble and flip on the floor. “I think that most things about Belize are kept quiet,” said Opal Enriquez, one of Biles’ cousins to CNN. “We are the best-kept secret. For Simone to shine a light on Belize, I think it’s meaningful because it’s such a huge part of our family history and the foundation of who we are, and we are excited that this is being used as a platform to showcase other talent in Belize.” Nellie Biles told the New York Times , “Simone said, when she gets married, it’s going to be in Belize.”

Today Simone is on the cover of Health magazine talking about mental health and representation. “Representation matters, and we want to inspire the next generation to pursue their passion,” Simone said. “Kids can come in and we will be training in the back, and they can see we are just like them. It helps them understand they can do it too.”

In the meantime, Simone is getting ready for the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo and is hoping to bring home more gold. Her Facebook Watch Series Simone vs. Herself premieres on July 15th.